At The Huffington Post: “Why the Public Slut Shaming of Kristen Stewart Matters for Young Women”

6 Sep

I might not be concerned for K-Stew, but I am concerned for my younger stepsister who has pictures of Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson on her walls, who idolizes and worships them, and who might grow up to hate Kristen Stewart for reasons she doesn’t understand. I’m worried she will be taught that it’s not okay to mess up, learn from it and apologize, because no one wants your apology, just your suffering on camera. I’m worried that she’ll think its okay to harass and threaten women for their indiscretions, even if men get off scot-free. I’m worried she will think this culture of bullying, slut-shaming and rhetorical violence against women is the norm, because you get a t-shirt for it. I’m worried she will learn to internalize the shame brought on far too many women today, for having sexualities, for not being perfect, for not fitting into a box. I’m worried she’ll believe men like Todd Akin, Paul Ryan and Mike Huckabee are right. – “Trampire:” Why the Public Slut Shaming of Kristen Stewart Matters for Young Women

Kris here. (I won’t do this often but I’m up irresponsibly late, which seems to make me more impulsive.) One thing that’s maybe a little strange about my fumbling in the general direction of being a good feminist is that despite coordinating a project called Women in the Academy, most of the feminist or feminist-relevant stuff I come across/pay attention to is in pop culture contexts. Women in comics (Google “Womanthology” and Renae DeLiz, or the treatment of any given female character in DC’s “New 52″ mega-relaunch, but make sure you have a few weeks to spare), women in video games (best place to start is Anita Sarkeesian’s Kickstarter; most depressing place to start is the trailer for the upcoming Tomb Raider reboot), women in fantasy fiction (Alyssa Rosenberg on George R. R. Martin is worth reading – actually Alyssa Rosenberg on anything is worth reading), women in [mixed] martial arts…

Anyway. Like most young men who treat superhero movies as entries on a bucket list and memorize the lines from Isaiah Mustafa’s Old Spice commercials, I’ve neither read nor watched Twilight, but I do vaguely remember Kristen Stewart in Panic Room and I thought Snow White and the Huntsman was kind of okay, or even if it really kind of sucked it might still be important because both the hero and the villain of a big genre tentpole were women more powerful, layered, and sympathetic than the women you tend to find in such entertainments. Step in the right direction and all that. (Necessary but not sufficient, maybe, in philosophy parlance.) But even if I didn’t have even that minimal familiarity with “K-Stew,” the piece quoted and hyperlinked up top would be worth the reading, so just go and do that (hat-tip to my friend Heather).

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